Linguistics at Newcastle

Staff Profile

Dr Helen Stringer

Senior Lecturer/Speech and Language Therapist

Background

Background

I qualified as a speech and language therapist (SLT) and primary school teacher here at Newcastle University. I worked as a teacher-therapist in a special school and a mainstream language unit for several years, before grabbing my backpack and travelling overseas. During the three years I spent travelling I also worked as an English teacher in Kathmandu, Nepal and as a speech pathologist in Melbourne, Australia. After returning to the UK I was appointed Manager of the NHS Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Service in Newcastle and for three years was also Professional Adviser for all Newcastle speech and language therapy services. The focus of my clinical work was as a specialist speech and language therapist in child and adolescent mental health. I completed my PhD while working as a clinician in the NHS. In February 2005 I started working at Newcastle University as a part time clinical educator, while continuing to work in the NHS. I now work as a lecturer and speech and language therapist in Speech and Language Sciences. My particular interest both in teaching and research is promotion of the use and creation of research evidence to support clinical practice in speech and language therapy. In my role of Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Partner, I assess overseas applicants to the Speech and Language Therapy Register and have sat on Investigating and Disciplinary Panels.

Follow me on Twitter here

Follow Speech & Language Sciences on Twitter here 

Roles and Responsibilities

Director of Newcastle University Children's Speech and Language Therapy Clinic; Degree Programme Director for the MSc in Evidence Based Practice in Communication Disorders and MSc Clinical Linguistics and Evidence Based Practice (Research); Course co-ordinator Return to Practice Distance Learning Course;  Treasurer of the RCSLT Speech and Language Therapy Research Network (formerly Northern Research SIG); Founding Member of the North East SLT Research Collaboration (Speech & Language Sciences, Newcastle University and local NHS SLT Services); 

Qualifications

PhD in Speech and Language Sciences (Newcastle University, 2004) Thesis Title: Children and Adolescents with Emotional and Behavioural Disorders and Speech and Language Impairment: Incidence, Nature and Intervention
Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Primary Years) (Newcastle University, 1982)
BSc (Hons) Speech (Newcastle University, 1981)

Previous Positions

Director of Impact and Engagement for the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences; Member of the RCSLT Professional Development and Standards Board (2009-2011); Director of Clinical Education, Speech and Language Sciences, Newcastle University (2006-2008); Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (CAMH Practitioner-Researcher) Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust (09/1999 to 08/2007); Health and Care Professions Council Partner (from 04/2002 to present);  Registrant Assessor, Panel member for Health; Conduct and Competency and Investigation Committees; Professional Adviser for Speech and Language Therapy to Newcastle City Health (NHS) Trust (08/1997 to 03/2001); Manager Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Service Newcastle City Health (NHS) Trust (07/1991 to 03/2000).  

Memberships

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (Fellow); Health and Care Professions Council (Speech and Language Therapy Registrant); The Child Speech Disorders Research Network; Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Honours and Awards

In October 2013 I was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists for my outstanding contribution to the profession, particularly in the areas of research capacity building and the promotion of evidence based practice (for more information see: http://tinyurl.com/pwd2exu).

 

External Examiner Positions

De Montford University, Leicester: BSc (Hons) Human Communication: Speech and language Therapy (2014-2018)

University College London: MSc Speech and Language Sciences (2007-2012)

 



Research

Research Interests

My research interests are diverse, partly related to my clinical work (young children with speech difficulties and children and adolescents with behaviour difficulties) and partly to my interest in how research is created and used as part of the evidence base for speech and language therapy to ensure rapid uptake of research evidence and adoption of new knowledge into routine clinical practice. My research interests include the evaluation of evidence based complex interventions for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), particularly involving phonology and phonological awareness, underpinned by behaviour change and implementation science theories; communities of practice and digital solutions; utilising behaviour change taxonomies and knowledge mobilisation processes in implementing evidence based practice in cross-organisational contextsI supervise a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects each year and am happy to discuss possible research projects relating to speech disorders (consistent and inconsistent phonology); phonological awareness and application of behaviour change techniques in SLT, with clinicians and graduates.

I work closely with practicing speech and language therapists to develop projects related to EBP. I made a podcast about evidence based practice with Rhiannon Walton here.

Other Expertise

I am passionate about the use of research in practice, both the creation and implementation. I work closely with colleagues within the Speech and Language Sciences section and NHS Organisations in the North East of England on projects to develop and maintain a research ready and research active workforce in speech and language therapy. In 2010 I wrote a series of tutorials on Evidence Based Practice Tools for Speech and Language Therapists, published in the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists' monthly Bulletin and contributed a chapter to Dobinson & Wren’s (2013) Creating Practice Based Evidence (to be extended to three chapters in the second edition in 2018).

Projects

Joint Principal Investigator (with Helen Nazlie): MRC Proximity to Development Fund: VEO for training speech & language therapists. Developing tags using the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy (BCTT) for use with VEO (www.veo-group.com) for SLT pre-and post–registration training. Part of this project also entails the development of new software to stream recordings to the VEO Portal, led by VEO Group (2016-2017).   

Project Lead: Improving school readiness of children at risk of speech and language difficulties in areas of low SES in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Children’s Speech & Language Therapy Service. This is an ESRC-IAA funded Impact project, using behaviour change theory to develop a training framework for SLTs and Early Years Practitioners to improve the success of SLT interventions delivered in schools and nurseries (2016-2017). Principal Investigator 

Principal Investigator: Using the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy with interventions for developmental speech and language disorders. How we code our interventions to make explicit the techniques we use (2016-). 

Principal Investigator: Investigating stability of phonological development in 3-5 year old children. Does targeted phonological awareness intervention influence the trajectory?  A secondary analysis of data from KTP project (2016-2019).  

Principle Investigator: Designing Digital Technologies to Support Communities of Evidence Collection and Dissemination in Speech and Language Therapy. A joint project with the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (Dominique Loewenthal) and Newcastle University Culture Lab (Professor Patrick Olivier and Dr Madeleine Balaam) and Speech and Language Sciences January –September 2014)

Principle Investigator: A Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Northumberland Church of England Academy (NCEA; Carole Robinson and Melanie Hinson) and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust (Di Nicholson) to develop a model of partnership working with local NHS Speech and Language Therapy services providing a language rich environment for Nursery Children in NCEA. Kate Jones, the KTP Associate was awarded a Business Leader of the Future award. This project started in January 2011 and was completed in January 2013, awarded Outstanding Grading by Technology Strategy Board on behalf of KTP).

Lead Investigator: Evaluating the impact of phonological awareness intervention on children with literacy/language/behaviour difficulties: A project with Professor James Law (PI) and Ms Alex Wiles, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2010-2013).

Principle Investigator: An evaluation of the effectiveness of different established and novel interventions for children with developmental speech disorders: a project in collaboration with Ms Di Nicholson, Northumberland Care Trust (2009-2011). 

Research Roles

As Director of Impact and Engagement my role includes: supporting colleagues to wrap engagement with stakeholders around research projects to ensure maximum impact; considering meaningful ways we can measure the impact of our research. 

As a member of the North East SLT Research Collaboration I work in partnership with and support speech and language therapists in the North East of England to use evidence in their practice; to apply research methods to evaluate their practice and contribute to the evidence base of our profession. For more information, visit the Collaboration website here.

Steering group member (2011-2014) SemaFoRe: Semantic feature and repetition therapy in aphasia Research for Patient Benefit NIHR Funded project led by Professor David Howard and Dr Julie Morris.

Postgraduate Supervision

I am happy to discuss PhD projects with prospective students via email, particularly relating to speech disorders (consistent and inconsistent phonology); phonological awareness and application of behaviour change techniques and BCTT in SLT.


Anastasia Trebacz (A Randomised Controlled Trial to Investigate the Efficacy of Building Early Sentences Therapy (BEST)) with Dr Cristina McKean and Professor James Law


Sahar Al Kaab (The impact of phonological awareness on reading and spelling of bilingual Arabic-English children age 7-9 years) with Dr Maria Mroz


Kate Jones (Persistent Language delay in the Early Years Foundation Stage – Can we predict whose difficulties will persist?) with Dr Cristina McKean and Professor James Law


Yalda Kazemi Najafabadi (Clinical Assessment of Persian-speaking Children with Language Impairment in Iran: Exploring the Potential of Language Sample Measures. Completed April 2013) with Professor Thomas Klee (University of Hong Kong)

External Funding

The MRC Proximity to Discovery Industry Engagement Fund Bridging the Translational Gap for VEO for training speech & language therapists (2016-2017) 

The ESRC-IAA Fund for Improving school readiness of children at risk of speech and language difficulties in areas of low SES  (2016-2017)

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists for Designing Digital Technologies to Support Communities of Evidence Collection and Dissemination in Speech and Language Therapy (2014)

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for the KTP project with Northumberland Church of England Academy (2011-2013)

CLRN (2009)

Bursary from NoReN (Northern Primary Care Research Network) for protected time for writing for publication (2006).

NHS Northern and Yorkshire Region to study ‘The Incidence and Nature of Communication Disorder in Adolescents with Sexually Abusive Behaviour’ (2001)

Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching

Developmental Speech Difficulties 1 & 2 (Case Based Problem Solving Modules)

Evidence Based Practice

Professional Issues

Clinical Practice


Postgraduate Teaching

Developmental Speech Difficulties 1 & 2 (Case Based Problem Solving Modules)

Evidence Based Practice

Clinical Practice

Critical Appraisal

Scientific writing for publication

Advanced assessment of children with speech language and communication needs (SLCN)


I use wikis in my teaching, you can see a podcast about it here

Publications